Monday, September 24, 2007
At McDonald’s outlet sometime ago, I came across an article entitled, "My team has the brain power of slugs or earthworms." I said to myself, "Man! Who said that?"
It turned out to be Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson. Jackson, irate with his team’s “lack of energy” and seemingly insurmountable 3-1 deficit against the Phoenix Suns in their first round seven-game series, told his team in his “moment of irritation” that they had "the brain power of slugs or earthworms."
Wow! If I was one of Jackson’s players, I’d really be motivated. Lakers’ superstar guard Kobe Bryant seemed to think so when he commented on Jackson’s “slugs and earthworms” comment.
"As irritated as I've ever seen him," Kobe Bryant said after the Lakers practiced in California on Tuesday (May 1, 2007). "He was really upset - frustrated. That was his way of saying, 'You'd better get your butts in the game."'
Couldn’t Jackson have just used the word, “hustle?” The Phoenix Suns were in a similar predicament during their first-round match up last year against these same Lakers. The Suns trailed the Lakers 3-1 then found it in themselves to win three straight to advance.
I didn’t hear any “slugs and earthworms” comments back then by Suns’ coach Mike D'Antoni last year. But then again, www.foxsports.com got it right when they wrote that “these Lakers aren't last year's Suns and that Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson has tried a bit of everything to make his team competitive.” (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/6764980)
In this particular "The Pie Hole" internet column of ESPN's Dan Patrick in 2003 (http://espn.go.com/talent/danpatrick/s/2003/0603/1562404.html), he describes former NBA player Steve Kerr and his contribution to the game of basketball by "emphasizing the importance of preparation and attention to details and fundamentals."
The Pie Hole
By Dan Patrick
Kerr is the ultimate role player who specializes in coming through in the clutch. He's the NBA's version of the designated hitter. His work ethic remains consistent regardless of how many minutes he's on the floor. And, according to Spurs assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo, the average guy doesn't work as hard as Kerr. His Game 6 performance vs. the Mavs spoke volumes to the younger players in terms of emphasizing the importance of preparation and attention to details and fundamentals.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
A lot has been said of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) new game ball. Initially, I thought they changed brands altogehter since they have been doing that the last couple of years with Nike, Reebok, and now Adidas sponsoring their apparel. According to sources at espn.com, it is only "the second time in 60 seasons the NBA has changed its game balls, and the first time in 35 years."
The NBA has defined the new Spalding model as "a microfiber composite with moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game."
A number of well known players have openly expressed their displeasure for the new offical ball of the NBA. Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat was one of the first players to speak out against the league's decision to replace the "old" Spalding leather ball.
Personally, I found O'Neal's description to be quite amusing. He described the new basketballs as "like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store." I didn't think any other player would top that till Phoenix Suns shooting guard Raja Bell said in Treviso, Italy yesterday, "it sucks. This ball isn't even a cousin of the one we played with."
Now that brought a big smile to my face :)
Update (10/5/06): Shaq has done it again! He just wasn't going to let Raja Bell "out quote" him. The ocregister.com posted this comment by the Big Diesel, "It's like touching an exotic dancer and then going and touching a plastic, blow-up doll."
Update (12-11-06): After two unfair labor charges filled against the NBA, Commissioner David Stern finally yielded to the players request to the go back to the old Spalding NBA basketball by the 1st of January 2007. Players "have complained about the new ball since training camp, saying that it bounced differently than the old one -- off the floor and the rim. They also said the synthetic material cut their hands." Two-time MVP Steve Nash, who has been one of the strongest critiques of the new microfiber ball has also been quoted as saying that another ball transition would be difficult for him as he is now "used to the (new microfiber composite ball) ball and it would be difficult to change back." (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Av1OMRNRvRtMUkTG3ndCwRW8vLYF?slug=ap-nb...)
Nice...really nice :)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
February 26, 2007 is certainly a day that Los Angeles Clippers point guard Shaun Livingston. In the opening minutes of their home game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Livingston landed awkwardly following a lay-up attempt and tore three of the four ligaments in his left knee.
Clippers team Doctor Steven Shimoyama “popped the (left) knee” back in place which relieved any pain that Livingston felt at that moment. Livingston had an Magnetic Resonance Image exam the next day (Tuesday, February 27, 2007) “which revealed tears in the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral meniscus.” These are three of the four major ligaments in one’s knee.
Livingston was also reported to have “dislocated his patella, besides the previously diagnosed dislocation of his tibia-femoral.” Clippers physician Dr. Tony Daly said Tuesday that "it's probably the most serious injury you can have to the knee" and that Livingston may “miss all of next year."
Yahoo.com shares that Shaun Livingston, “a three-year veteran who was drafted by the Clippers out of high school, has been hampered by injuries and has yet to play a full season in the NBA. Prior to his devastating knee injury, Livingston sat out two games in January 2007 with a sprained right ankle. He also missed 39 games during his rookie season (2004) because of a dislocated right knee, and another 12 that season because of torn cartilage in his right shoulder. Last season he sat out the first 21 games with a stress reaction in his lower back.” At seasons end, Livingston would have missed an estimated 42% of the total 246 games he could have possibly participated in.
Video of the Clippers point guard (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3821/) had garnered a number of hits in YouTube.com. However, a few days later, this particular video was subsequently removed from the site. I have been able to track down a copy of the video. I should warn you however that this is not for the squeamish. (http://www.gofish.com/player.gfp?gfid=30-1084147)
Some observers have said that (and it is!) far worse than the dislocated shoulder injury suffered by the Miami Heat's Dwyane Tyrone Wade. (http://www.gofish.com/player.gfp?gfid=30-1082720). Lastly, some critiques have also noted that Livingston stands to lose over $40 million dollars in future earnings due to this injury.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been notorious for underpaying their health players. So in the case of Livingston who has about a year and $11 million dollars left in his existing contract, why should the Clippers break the proverbial bank and sign a guard with a bad wheel to a multi-million dollar extension. One blog site even went as far as saying that it would be impractical to sign Livingston since "were not even sure if he is going to walk without a limp."
Many career threatening injuries have happened to numerous players from different sports. But what Livingston doesn't have going for him is a college education, since he bypassed college to become the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft three years ago.
Here's wishing Shaun Livingston a speedy recovery. And however it turns out, $11 million dollars is still a lot of money. So as early as now, he should invest wisely.
May 3, 2007. No matter how much Mavericks owner Mark Cuban downplays his team's first round exit against the 8th seed Golden State Warriors, this date stands as a day of infamy for the Dallas Mavericks. After garnering the best overall record (67 wins and 15 losses) in 06'-07' season--which guaranteed them home court advantage throughout the playoffs--the Mavs were still unable to upstage the up-and-coming Warriors who seemed to have had their number over the last two years.
TNT Analyst Steve Kerr put it best when he likened the slumping Mavericks to last year’s Detroit Pistons. Kerr mentioned a conversation that he had with Pistons Head Coach Flip Saunders wherein Saunders talked about his team “losing their edge” entering that year’s NBA Playoffs due to a number of lackluster games in the tail end of their regular season schedule.
The Mavericks made NBA history as being the first number one seed to lose a best-of-seven first round series to an eight seed (The previous two occasions were best-of-five affairs wherein the 94’ Denver Nuggets upset the favored Seattle Supersonics and the 99’ New York Knicks which bested the Miami Heat on an Allan Houston runner at the buzzer). Despite winning 67 games (which tied them for 6th best overall record all-time); having three ten-game winning streaks (with a high of 17 straight games (they were unable to extend it to 18 as they lost to the Warriors in their next game)); having the best home record; best road record; and winning the southwest division title, it just wasn’t enough to best the Golden State Warriors who played their hearts out despite having an injured and inferior lineup to that of the Dallas Mavericks.
Then again, it’s pretty hard to win a basketball series or game for that matter when your star player—German native Dirk Nowitzki—in not so many words, conceded the series should the Warriors win Game 4. (Which they did! It also gave the Warriors a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead in the series).